Should Guests Be Prompted To Tip Your Cashiers?

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QUESTION FROM: Barb in MN

“Does anyone have quick service restaurant where tablet POS system does suggestive tips when customers place orders at the counter? What are your thoughts on using that feature?

I just got a pretty long email from a customer at 12:03AM telling me about how wrong this is!

Like lots of other owners, all of my employees including our cashiers, rely on tips to ensure they earn a living wage which means that when someone tips our cashiers, they’re not only incentivizing employees to perform diligent work, they’re actually supporting my business and the homemade products we offer.

When you think of it, cashiers can make or break the customers experience. They are customer facing, smiling, making eye contact and thanking them for their business.

Thoughts?”

HH ANSWER:

I don’t mind a tip jar at the register - and will often throw a few dollars in to support a friendly and engaging staff but, generally speaking, I’m against being prompted to add a tip on my credit card purchases unless the cashier is performing more than the task of ringing me up and telling me when to insert my card into the chip reader… or making correct change.

Prompting your guests with a “suggested tip” at the Point Of Sale (as opposed to a softer ask via a tip jar or a line provided for a tip or additional gratuity on the receipt) makes me feel like it’s more expected than appreciated… especially in fast food, quick serve or self-service.

In short, I think making the guest feel obligated in any way is poor taste and a great example of not thinking “guest-first”.

That being said... if you DO decide to continue guilting guests into tipping your cashiers for making correct change and smiling - PLEASE consider including a “NO TIP”, “NO THANKS” or “SKIP THE TIP” button that ISN’T smaller or less conspicuous in any way than the suggested percentages listed on the screen in big easy to read boxes or fonts.

BTW: If I needed to rely on tips to ensure my employees were paid a living wage - I’d increase my prices across the board before I asking any of the guests supporting my business to tip someone for simply facilitating the transaction.

I agree with you that cahiers can make or break the guest experience but I disagree with you in that I believe the reward or “incentive for diligent work” of that particular nature is yours to give.

For the record, “service with a smile” should be seen as an integral part of every one’s job - and not as going “above and beyond”.

Call me crazy, but I don’t believe a “Thank You - Come again!” deserves a trophy....or at least not one from the guest.

Like most guests. If I want to support people, products and services I find enjoyable and/or valuable, I’ll do it by repeatedly giving them my business. My apologies if that’s not enough - but unless we’re going into business together and I’m getting a share of the profits; only one of us is going to be responsible for paying your cashier.